We've all done it I think, to some extent or another. Whatever name you may call it, we've all harboured a secret longing for someone, a feeling so deep within ourselves you wonder how it came to be. Call it a crush if you like, but it's more than that - a clandestine yearning, a concealed desire perhaps? Whatever! Mine was for Sarah.
I'm 36 years old; naive I'm not, but I've never found myself longing for someone as much as I did for Sarah. I'll try to explain.
I'm a writer. Not a 'proper' writer as my mum would call it, I'm a freelance medical writer; I write up professional research, do the odd journal piece, even find myself penning marketing stuff. I enjoy it, and it certainly pays the bills. I like working from home and I love my house. I live in an old lodge, what used to be the gatehouse for a larger home, now long gone. In its place are a series of 'executive homes'; large, red brick, conventional...boring. Ok, now I sound like a snob, but I watched them being built and I watched them slowly fill with 2.4 kid families and I just got on with my life. Until the moment Sarah moved in.
I was working one morning, I think around 9am, when I saw the large removal van slowly negotiate the narrow lane. I'm not sure what prompted my interest, what made me get up, but I wandered into my spare room and looked through the window. Idly I watched the lorry stopping outside the last of the new houses nearest to mine and my attention was captured by the woman with her reddish hair held up in a ponytail, wearing jeans and a too large sweatshirt. She looked nice; ordinary. I went back to work.
I'm not massively sociable; I pop into the office a couple of times a week, meet with friends, play hockey at the weekend but I normally won't readily get together with strangers. So it was slightly out of character later that day when I decided to introduce myself to my new neighbours. With a bottle of red in hand by way of welcome I crossed the street. She answered the door, looking tired and small in her oversized top, and blushed delightfully when I offered the wine. She was shy, I figured that immediately and a little nervous in her new surroundings but she invited me in. She was alone, her husband was working elsewhere, and the place was a mess; half opened boxes and furniture piled about. And it was dark, really dark inside, but she explained that she had no power yet. Or water.
Maybe I was imagining it but she looked vulnerable, in a sad sort of defeated way. I should have ignored the thumping my heart made. I should have made noises of commiseration and walked away leaving her with her wine in the dark. Of course I didn't: I found myself offering her the use of my hot water, offering to make her a meal, offering to dig out the camping lights in the garage. And if only she had said no thanks, that she would be fine. Only she didn't. She smiled, and while she was accepting and offering her grateful thanks, her smile transformed her tired face and I caught a glimpse of the woman underneath.
Back home I moved with record speed; tidying the kitchen, picking up towels abandoned on the bathroom floor -- you know the score, we've all done it. Digging through the freezer, will lasagne be ok? Oh fuck, I have no salad! The cat cast his baleful gaze from the window sill at my frenzied activity and I giggled; I was acting like a teenager on a first date. I have to admit that thought sobered me up!
A slightly different woman stood in my kitchen gently towelling her hair. Pink and fresh from her shower, her eyes in the light were grey and her auburn hair really dark when wet. Wearing dark cargo pants low on her hips and a t-shirt she was...oh well, she was gorgeous.
I poured some wine while the food gave off its warm and comforting smell from the oven. We moved to the living room, she chatted amiably. The cat, lap whore that he is, settled on hers; I swear he smirked at me. And then, with that sense of timing that all editors must have as a default to ruin writer's lives, mine phoned. I apologised and retired to the kitchen to take the call. Alison, my editor, is a nit-picking, finicky, hyper-critical bitch. Ok, she's not, I love her to bits, but her timing sucks. After 25 minutes I finally put down the phone, rescued dinner and went back to my guest. She was fast asleep, not really surprising I suppose having been working hard all day on her own. She was curled up on my large squishy sofa with Monty draped gracefully across her. In her deep slumber she looked so pretty. A small smile seemed to play across her slightly open lips and the dark shadows under her eyes had all but disappeared. I noticed tiny freckles scattered over her nose and a faded scar under her chin. My breath caught as I looked at her.
Do you believe in love at first sight? I don't. Or rather I didn't. Maybe third or fourth sight then, who knows. But standing over Sarah, fast asleep on my sofa, I believe I fell in love at that moment. It wasn't lust - that feeling I know well enough to interpret. It was deep warmth in my chest my stomach, my limbs. No, I'm not explaining it correctly, actually I'm not sure I can, but I was aware of it and tried to shake it off but it wouldn't go.
She slept for about 40 minutes and woke flustered and embarrassed. I saw a flash of something in her eyes for just a second. I remember thinking it looked like fear, but it passed quickly. We drank some wine and ate some luke-warm pasta. She was nice and chatty I found I loved her slightly quirky sense of humour. She was a teacher, she specialised in special needs kids and she looked and sounded as if she had endless patience. It took effort on my part to relax, reminding myself constantly that she was married and straight, and I had no business in finding myself attracted to her. When she left, with my biggest flashlight and a camping lantern I almost heaved a sigh of relief.
She returned the lights the next evening along with a bunch of flowers. I was drawn to her again despite myself, wanted to spend time with her but she refused coffee. Her husband Tim had arrived, and with her quick and slightly restless movements I assumed she was anxious to get back to him. It was slightly crushing and I tried not to look at her as she retreated, mentally telling myself to get over this as quickly as possible.
But you know how it is with neighbours; sometimes you can't help but run into them. I met her husband, tall and good looking in his expensive suit, striding out to his 7 series BMW. I hated him on sight and yes, I know that sounds immature, but there was something so definitively arrogant about him. But it became apparent that he worked away quite a bit, and I began to notice that Sarah seemed to be very approachable when he was away and almost invisible when he was around.
One afternoon, she sat in my kitchen while I made coffee. She was quietly chatting, talking about work and absentmindedly scratching behind Monty's ears. I was staring, I know I was. I thought she was just so pretty, in a quiet unassuming way and I would have given anything to tuck that stray lock of hair behind her ear. I felt mildly fragile, her proximity causing a delicious throb deep within me. I knew the feeling well and turned and gave my full attention to the coffee machine while allowing the rush of desire to whirl through me. She couldn't see, couldn't know, but I allowed myself a tiny indulgence and embraced desire before her voice carried me back to reality. I focused once more and shoved my longing away, somewhere deep. And I remember telling myself that this really was a situation I neither needed nor wanted and I decided to do something about it.
Do you think I did? Of course I didn't. I could have moved, sure, but I loved my place, it was home. I tried relationships; a disastrous fling with a girl from the hockey club who was sweet but too young and the whole thing collapsed into bewilderment. Would you believe this went on for nearly 18 months? Including a Christmas party where presents were exchanged with kisses and the scent she wore nearly made me lose my mind. It was ridiculous but I lived with it; I couldn't help myself.
He left her in August. She arrived in the garden unexpectedly one evening. It was hot and humid and the sky was low with storm clouds. I wasn't surprised to see her, she often popped over unannounced, but her body language was so odd. I opened some cold white wine and we sat while she calmly told me. He'd been seeing someone for about 6 months, at work. And that afternoon he had coolly packed some stuff and told her he was leaving her, they were over. Sarah was matter-of-fact, chin in her palm as she drank three large glasses of wine. I was shocked in a way, not that he had gone; I'd always disliked him and his apparent self importance. What amazed me was Sarah's calm acceptance, almost as though she was glad or had been expecting it.
At the first rumble of thunder we both stood. It seemed natural for me to hug her, I was her friend. So when she kissed me I was, well...I was shocked into immobility. The glass I was holding slipped and the noise it made hitting the terrace was loud and awful. We both jumped apart and she took my blank look and rigid stance as disgust. Her beautiful pale face flushed with colour and her grey eyes widened and I was strangely incapable of thought or movement. Believe me, she ran - and it was several moments before I remembered how to breath and realised what kind of idiot I was.
So I followed her route across the road, breaking into a run as the heavens opened and huge splats of summer rain started to fall. It's amazing how rain can hurt sometimes, but I was almost oblivious. Sarah's front door wasn't locked and I entered without knocking. It was a large open hallway and I saw her immediately, perched on the bottom of the stairs. She was crying; not sobbing, just letting the tears fall silently down her pretty face and she managed to choke out something that sounded like 'I'm so sorry.'
You know, in my imagination I had played out a thousand times how I would declare my desire for her; how we would kiss passionately and make sweet love and live happily ever after. I know...right!?! Reality bites a little differently. I only knew one thing; I seriously didn't want to mess this up. Deciding honesty was the best policy I knelt on the wooden floor in front of her. I didn't try to touch her or wipe away her tears. I simply told her the truth. The truth about me and my own sexuality. The truth about my feelings for her. The simple truth that I had decided that nothing would ever happen between us and that when it did...I panicked. I told her she was beautiful, that she took my breath away and that I wanted nothing more than to take her in my arms. And then I told her that I would go back home, and if she was sure she knew what she was doing she could find me there.
Crossing the road soaked me, it was raining so hard. I found myself doing the same thing she'd done. I sat on the bottom of my stairs and I prayed very, very hard.
The door slowly opened and a slightly bedraggled Sarah quietly slipped through. We spent a few moments looking at each other. Her tears were gone but her eyes were red. She was nervous and unsure, but she was here. I can't remember a moment when I felt so edgy, so hesitant, and subsequently did the thing that felt the most natural. I walked to her and wrapped her in a gentle hug, pressing my arms around her back and my face to her wet hair. Slowly she responded and her body pushed against mine while her hands moved to my neck and buried themselves in my short dark hair. I reluctantly moved away and took her hand, pulling her to the living room telling her that we needed to talk, but she said she didn't want to. The look she gave me told me exactly what she wanted even if she didn't know it herself. My heart was thudding hard in my chest when I kissed the side of her face, relaxing when she acquiesced. Her soft cheek was a smooth against mine, my lips found hers, and when my tongue touched the corner of Sarah's mouth I heard the tiniest of moans escaped her.
I've made love in a hurry before; I've let passion or lust flood over me and allowed myself to get lost in it. This was so different. Time seemed to slow, every movement seemed measured. I was certain that this was Sarah's first time with a woman and wouldn't rush; easier said than done when trying to ignore the fire burning over your skin and between your legs. Sarah allowed herself to be guided but was not impassive. She kissed me back; her tongue danced against mine and traced my teeth. She found a weakness when she licked along the edge of my bottom lip and gripped me tighter when my knees threatened to buckle.
We paused for a moment, our foreheads resting together, and I told her I wanted to make love too her -- half expecting her to turn and run away again. But she didn't run; her hands cupped my face and she whispered that she wanted that too. I was almost weak with desire as we made our way upstairs, kissing, touching, tugging at clothing. Whatever reticence she may have shown disappeared when I dragged my t-shirt over my head. I'm small, I often go bra-less and Sarah's eyes were immediately drawn to me with my dark nipples tight and hard with excitement. I took her hand and placed her warm palm against my breast, biting my lip against the rush of pleasure that screamed through my body. She touched and caressed, bringing her other hand up to mirror her movements, and all the while her eyes seemed to devour me.
I managed to keep some focus while I removed the rest of her clothes and we tumbled onto the bed still kissing and clutching at each other. My hands were travelling over her, tracing her fair skin, feeling her tremble under my touch. She was silent as I explored her body but she wriggled as I kissed down her neck and began to writhe as my lips brushed over her soft pale breasts. I was in heaven touching her; she had a lithe slim body, full breasts and such silky soft skin. I wanted to search every inch of her, find all the places that made her gasp. I could hear her breathing change as my hand traced over her tummy and lower through her soft short curls. With one finger I gently investigated lower, lightly brushing over her clit. Her loud strangled cry filled the room and suddenly she was climaxing, her body jerking under me.
I'm not sure who was more surprised, she or I, to find herself so aroused that quickly but suddenly she was crying. Her tears became sobs, noisy and choked and her arms covered over her eyes. I thought I understood, at least I hoped I did; passion and tears can be so closely connected, so I cuddled with her and soothed her and gradually she calmed down. Kissing the tears from her face, she said the same thing over, three times or more -- 'I had no idea.' It confirmed to me that the tears were a rush of emotion, a feeling that can well up and overwhelm for an instant -- I know, it's happened to me too.
She reached into my heart at that moment. Her muted cries of passion, her tears, her soft warm body; I wanted more of her. I wanted to protect her and please her and love her. My kisses covered her face and I tasted her tears, I moved down to her throat and let my lips linger over her pulse point, strong and steady. She was completely relaxed, her fingers in my hair and her grey eyes on me as her breathing returned to normal. Looking up and seeing her watching me I couldn't help but smile. My reward was a brilliant wide grin that made me burst into giggles and suddenly we were both laughing and wrestling over the bed, the sexual tension lessened for a moment.
That though was short lived; her leg found its way between mine and I made the kind of low groan that cannot be misinterpreted and soon we were kissing again, deep, delicious kisses that made my temperature rise. I couldn't keep still, I couldn't keep my hands or my mouth off her skin and gradually I found myself going lower and lower encouraged by the tiny breathy gasps she made when she realised what I was going to do. The skin of her inner thigh was a whisper against my cheek as I paused, taking in the sight of her and breathing in her soft feminine scent. The moment my lips touched her she started to squirm and where she moved I followed. The moment my tongue dipped gently inside her she cried out and I couldn't help myself from echoing her.
I explored her lips and soft folds and she writhed and I loved her movements and her cries and her taste. Once again her fingers were in my hair holding me and her knees were high leaving her fully open to my lips and tongue. I could feel the orgasm building in her, from the trembling in her thighs to the sweetness flooding my tongue. I tried to slow, to prolong it but there passes a point of no return and before long her back was arching off the bed and her cries were impossibly sexy. Sarah came for a wonderfully long time and I slowed my tongue to soft caresses as she relaxed, and then just kisses; along her thigh and over her tummy, gradually making my way up to her.
Leaning over Sarah, with her eyes half open, heavy and sexy; her face flushed and her freckles glowing. Closing in for a kiss, when this gorgeous girl tells you in a voice low and husky with desire that what just happened was the most wonderful thing she has ever experienced. How would you feel? Chose your hero -- that's what I felt like; fabulous, fantastic, magnificent all wrapped up in a turned on body.
I lay pressed close to her, propped up on one elbow tracing the features of her face with a finger. She took my hand and pressed it to her mouth. I shivered when I felt her tongue on my palm, her teeth on my wrist. She pushed me onto my back and sat up over me. On her knees Sarah gazed down at me, her fingers outlining my lips and my chin and then down towards my breasts. Her eyes devoured me. I was biting my lip as her hands brushed over my hard nipples; sensations, glorious sensations coursed down my torso, burning between my legs. I could feel even more wetness leaking from me as my excitement increased.
With her hand sliding down over my tummy Sarah's eyes burned into mine, as if asking for permission. I would have pleaded and begged but her hand dipped lower, slowly almost tentatively opening me up and then amazingly and wonderfully pushing up inside of me. Oh god... it felt so good and my legs widened and my back arched and she actually asked me 'is this ok?' Somehow through my babbling she inferred it, her finger slowly dragging in and out of me while her thumb brushed against my very swollen and sensitive clit.
She had a look of intense concentration on her face and the effect on me was astonishing as this beautiful inexperienced girl coaxed me slowly but inexorably towards a huge climax. I felt it building, I told her, I implored her not to stop; I think I screamed her name as it hit. She didn't slow down, she didn't speed up; her constantly moving fingers prolonged my pleasure and gave me one of the most intense orgasms of my life leaving my heart thumping and my nipples so hard they were almost painful. I pulled her towards me and we both lay still breathing heavily. The heat of our love making and the hot and humid night left our skin sweaty and our hair damp, but that just added to the eroticism. The rest of the night was perfect, we dozed, we talked, we giggled and we made love again, finally falling into a deep and exhausted sleep ignoring the thunder that continued to rumble throughout the night.
I woke first in the morning and lay very still listening to Sarah's quiet breathing next to me. She was flat on her back, one leg crooked over mine with both her arms flung over her head. My first thought was to snuggle as close as I could get, to breathe in her morning scent and plant kisses on her warm skin. I was reticent for whatever reason; sober mornings can often bring with them a change of heart and I think I was mentally bracing myself for hers. So I turned and watched her slowly wake up. I watched her rub her nose and then rub both fists into her eyes like a child. I saw her grey eyes open and blink with the realisation of her surroundings. I saw her turn towards me and simultaneously stretch widely and pull me to her -- and I knew everything would be ok. We lay close with our arms around each other and I searched her face with my eyes, hardly able to believe this lovely young woman was here with me. I was considering my next move when my furry accessory thudded heavily onto the bed and loudly demanded breakfast.